Time passes on as we await May 8th, Draft Day for the NFL. Skeptics and pundits weigh in on who they think each NFL team will draft. Positioning for the first five picks get shuffled and jumbled based on Combine and Pro-Day performances. Yet, Raider Nation has to await the grueling 32 days before General Manager Reggie McKenzie makes his first move.
Which player will drop to the #5 spot, or does McKenzie seek additional draft picks? These are the burning questions that the Raiders and their fans face in this lull. Don’t worry, I too will offer my opinion as to who they pick or which direction the Raiders go. It’s fun to dream or even speculate, and it’s even more fun when you end up being right.
As it stands currently, I believe that the first three picks will determine what the Raiders do with their fifth spot. The needs of the Raiders are well documented. Although McKenzie addressed a lot of needs through free agency, there are still definite requirements at key positions.
I believe the two positions that absolutely need to be addressed are WR and DL/LB. Now, I know that really displays three positions, but I’m saying a hybrid DL/LB player. Khalil Mack makes the most sense to me when thinking of a player that would fill this position best. At WR, it would be generous if Sammy Watkins fell to the 5th spot, but that may just be a pipe dream. Therefore, Mike Evans out of Texas A&M would be a very good selection at #5. QB Matt Schaub is used to throwing to a large receiver, and Evans would fill that Andre Johnson type player.
Of course, there is always the possibility of trading back in the draft to acquire more draft picks, and ultimately that may be the direction McKenzie is headed. Let’s face it, the Raiders only have 6 draft picks right now, and they need to pick up a couple more. There are teams out there that could use the 5th pick to grab one of the ready-now rookies, and those teams have plenty of draft picks to give away.
The possibility of the Raiders trading with the San Francisco 49ers (11-picks), St. Louis Rams (12-picks), New York Jets (12-picks), Jacksonville Jaguars (11-picks), Houston Texans (11-picks), Green Bay Packers (9-picks), Detroit Lions (8-picks), Dallas Cowboys (11-picks), Cleveland Browns (10-picks), Cincinnati Bengals (9-picks), Baltimore Ravens (8-picks), Atlanta Falcons (10-picks), highly exists, especially if a certain player falls back to the #5 spot and one of these teams really has to fill its need.
An additional 2nd round pick and 4th or 5th rounder or all three would be outstanding. There is an enormous amount of talent in the 2014 Draft, and there are many good or better than good players to choose from in the later rounds. The other barometer will depend upon how far back McKenzie is willing to fall in the first round. I like the idea of falling deep into the first to get more in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds.
A DB or DL in the first round makes the most sense in the latter part of the 1st round, but it will all depend on who is the best player available. I truly believe the Raiders acquire a QB in the early part of the 2nd round, especially if Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, or Johnny Manziel fall that far. I won’t be surprised with a pick like A.J. McCarron either. Again, it all depends on how far down these QB’s drop.
In any event, it’s going to be a very closely watched draft, because McKenzie needs to hit some home runs this year in order to solidify his staff position. Still, I like the direction McKenzie has this ship headed, and I feel that Raider Nation will be extremely happy with the season ahead. Keep your heads up Raider Nation, the Raiders will be back!